Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now!:
New York City is still reeling since Amazon announced last week that it was scrapping plans to build a major office facility in Queens. The decision came under mounting pressure from grassroots activists and local politicians who opposed the deal. Amazon had announced the project in November after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered Amazon nearly $3 billion in tax subsidies to come to the city. But local politicians and community organizers rallied against the tech giant and won.
Assemblymember Ron Kim:
I was a bit taken back. I thought they were going to stick around to talk to our groups, to labor unions, to politicians, to figure out some sort of a reasonable compromise to coexist and be good neighbors, and for them to actually have meetings the day before, with the Mayor’s Office, to labor groups. And then, all of a sudden, without any notice, they’re pulling out.
This is very indicative of what Amazon has done before as a corporation. They say one thing; they do another. They’re only driven by profit. And it’s about time that we push back.
You know, we’ve got moderate Democrats and corporate-driven politicians trying to court them back, saying, “Well, you know, maybe if we offer something else, but can you guys come back to the table to renegotiate?” This is not the time to renegotiate. These monopolies, we can’t rely on them to create quality jobs for our communities. You know, we spend too many years, we spend too many decades, subsidizing the growth of these mega-monopolies that are fundamentally designed to extract and exploit us. And instead of them extorting another dollar from us, we need to hold them accountable, moving forward.
Something is desperately wrong in this country when 80 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, when we, as a nation, rank last, in all developed countries, in upward mobility, and the biggest corporations are paying 0 percent tax to the federal government. And they’re going from state to state trying to extort as much taxpayers’ money out of us. That is—we have shed the light on something that’s broken. And this is the time to seize that opportunity to set a new course for an economy that works for all of us. This is the time to do it.
And politically driven politicians that are stuck on this neoliberal ideology will continue to call people, activists as “socialists” and “communists,” “anarchists,” to protect the status quo, because the status quo enriches them. You know, the whole ecosystem around giving away corporate welfare, who benefits? Corporate-driven politicians, lobbyists, intermediaries that are just waiting on the sideline to get as much money out of that pie.
This is—we have to call it what it is. It’s not working. This is not a compassion plea for people, either; this is an economic argument. A number of economists have come out in the last 10 years. There is no statistical correlation between the corporate incentives and the growth in revenue and the economic growth that these companies promise. In fact, you look at Buffalo—upstate—Billion, you look at what’s happening in Foxconn, you look at every single data point for the last 20 years, all the promises that these corporations make up front to extort money from us, they never deliver on the back end.
The governor thinks that the bigger the company, the more likely they’re going to resolve our economic crisis. That is a deeply flawed—you know, a mindset that is flawed, and we shouldn’t be going down that direction.
You know, this is the time where we have to reset the economy and make sure that we move toward an economy of abundance, that takes care of every single person in our community and makes sure that we reinvest our dollars in stuff that matters—our municipalities, our broken subways, our arts institution, our schools. Those are the things that add intrinsic value to our communities, which attracts the people and talent to our city, which then attracts the companies to come here to hire them. That’s how this thing works, not to bribe these multinational companies to come here, when, time after time, they fail to deliver the jobs that they promise.